Lead Poisoning in New York City Public Housing NYCHA Part 1: It’s still Present!!

Written by: Cristi Paulino & Benjamin Kim

Lead poisoning has been an issue in NYC for years, yet it still has not been addressed fully. The New York Daily News posted an article titled Mayor de Blasio Announces Major Campaign to Track Lead Paint in Public Housing, which brings light onto the situation present in NYC today.

NYCHA Lead Crisis

According to the article, more than 800 children living under New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) have registered levels of lead poisoning ranging from 5–9 micrograms per deciliter, which is pretty alarming. The City’s Health Department did not make this information public or notify NYCHA because they only investigate instances of 10 micrograms and up. If this is the case, then imagine the number of children other than the 800 with possible lead poisoning go unnoticed simply because their levels of poisoning did not reach 10 micrograms. Lead poisoning is a serious problem that can seriously affect the development and growth of children, and the rates in NYC are much higher than one expects.

NYCHA houses 1 in 14 New Yorkers, which would amount to a population comparable to that of Miami, Florida. The gravity of this issue cannot be understated, and with an adopted budget of approximately 8.6 billion, NYCHA simply has no excuse to not direct funds to fix the issue of lead poisoning in their housing.

This issue isn’t only present in NYC housing, but also in schools. In 2017, public school parents in New York City have received letters explaining that water fixtures in their children’s schools tested positive for lead. So our children are not only getting exposed in homes but in schools as well, which is where they spend most of their time during the year.

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